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Police officer, Aaron Evans-Keady of Bushey, jailed over cocaine cover-up has sentence halved
A disgraced former Met police officer who made a pact with a colleague to engineer the release of a woman he had arrested for buying cocaine has had his jail term halved by top judges.
Aaron Evans-Keady, at the time based at Kentish Town police station, told a civilian co-worker he "felt sorry" for the woman and asked what could be done to help her, before lying to a senior officer that a substance found on her had tested negative for illegal drugs.
The 27-year-old, of Sparrows Herne, Bushey, was jailed for two years at Southwark Crown Court in May after admitting conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
But his sentence was yesterday cut to just 12 months by judges sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court, who said the original term was "too long" in all the circumstances.
The court heard Evans-Keady had been a police officer for just one year when the "gross abuse of power" occurred in January last year.
He was patrolling on his own in Camden Town on January 28, when he spotted two men and a woman who he believed were involved in a drugs deal.
When he approached and searched the suspects, he found the men had nothing on them but the woman was carrying three wraps containing a suspicious substance.
The court heard the woman - a solicitor from Australia - became very upset on the way to the police station, as she was not only concerned she may be charged for possessing drugs, but worried about the effect this could have on her career and immigration status.
Mr Justice Keith told the court the "springs of justice began to uncoil" once Evans-Keady had returned to the station and handed the packages over to civilian detention officer, Kieran Cross, for testing.
The judge said Evans-Keady told Cross he felt sorry for the woman, saying he hadn't really wanted to arrest her, but wanted to arrest the two men - who he believed to be drug dealers.
After a test revealed the substance was cocaine, he asked Cross what they could do and Cross said he could record a negative result, at which point they agreed to do this.
Evans-Keady then told the woman the packages had tested negative, before repeating this lie to a senior officer who decided no further action should be taken against the woman as a result.
But the deception came to light within hours after Cross, 25, confessed what they had done to one of his superiors and both men were arrested.
Mr Justice Keith said the woman was asked to return to the station and was given a caution for possession of cocaine.
Allowing the appeal, Mr Justice Keith said the offence was undoubtedly serious, but the sentence should have reflected his "apparently selfless" motive.
Sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Lewis, he added: "It goes without saying that Evans-Keady's sympathy for the plight of the woman was completely misplaced because it was not for him to decide that she should be put in a position where a prosecution would be less likely.
"That was not his decision to make. It was a serious abuse of power on his part, which would have had important consequences for the administration of justice and the proper performance of the Secretary of State when making the appropriate immigration decision in the woman's case.
"However, the fact that this decision was made for apparently selfless reasons needed to be reflected in the length of the sentence."
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